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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Federal Court System: A Principal-Agent Perspective, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon Jan 2003

The Federal Court System: A Principal-Agent Perspective, Tracey E. George, Albert H. Yoon

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Professor Merrill ably demonstrates that Supreme Court decisions should be examined as the product of an inherently political institution. Observers who assert that Justices are best understood as prophets of the law are practicing an intellectual sleight of hand that allows them to ignore the non­ doctrinal factors that affect judicial behavior. Such an effort is understandable. The Court is a much more complicated subject if its rulings reflect nonlegal factors as well as legal ones. The desire, however, to ignore the true character of the Court produces accounts of its behavior that are inadequate, incorrect, or wholly without content. …


Beyond Accountability, Lisa Schultz Bressman Jan 2003

Beyond Accountability, Lisa Schultz Bressman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article argues that efforts to square the administrative state with the constitutional structure have become too fixated on the concern for political accountability. As a result, those efforts have overlooked an important obstacle to agency legitimacy: the concern for administrative arbitrariness. Such thinking is evident in the prevailing model of the administrative state, which seeks to legitimate agencies by placing their policy decisions firmly under the control of the one elected official responsive to the entire nation-the President. This Article contends that the "presidential control" model cannot legitimate agencies because the model rests on a mistaken assumption about the …


The Dimension Of The Supreme Court, Paul H. Edelman Jan 2003

The Dimension Of The Supreme Court, Paul H. Edelman

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lawrence Sirovich introduced two novel mathematical techniques to study patterns in recent Supreme Court decisions. One of these methods, information theory, has never been applied previously. The other method, singular value decomposition, is closely related to other methods that have previously been employed.

In this paper I give an explication of these two methods and evaluate their use in the context of understanding the Supreme Court. I conclude that information theory holds some promise for furthering our understanding but singular value decomposition, as applied by Sirovich, is …